Saturday, 26 September 2015

New Painting - More Panzergrenadiers!

Another squad for my Chain of Command Late War Germans. Not the best photos, just couldn't seem to get the lighting quite right, but you'll get the idea.

This brings the total to four squads, i.e. three plus one as a support option.

It may be the way I play ;o) but I've often found that having a few more chaps would be handy.

All Artizan figures I picked up at Salute; but I've been too busy with my British to get them done until now. All painted and based as described previously (check the painting page if you're interested).

Right, now back to that building!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

How to make MDF buildings - Part 1

This post aims to explain how to go about constructing MDF buildings, specifically those from Charlie Foxtrot Models. In subsequent posts I'll go on to look at how to paint them too.

I decided to do this after chatting to a few people at Colours. Some seemed a bit put off from making and painting them, but if you can build and paint figures ok then buildings should be no problem.

My first example will be one of Colin's lovely farmhouse kits (a bargain at just £12.25, or about 17 euros). Here's the official picture.

Here are the components.

I usually begin by building the ground floor. A very important point to bear in mind is to always 'dry fit' any components before gluing. That is, check out how well they fit and how it looks by holding the pieces together - or maybe use some blu-tak. It's a good way to check that it all fits and looks right.

Here's the ground floor.

It all fits nicely, so it's time to get out the glue. Use good quality wood glue as it's stronger, doesn't shrink and dries clear. I normally use Evo-Stik Interior Wood Adhesive. Blob some on to a palette and then use a cocktail stick to apply the glue neatly. Less is more, so to speak, as the joins generally fit flush you really only need a small amount of glue. Wipe off any excess that seeps out of the joints using a damp tissue.

Another tip - Colin puts plenty of pictures of the finished article on his web site, usually from a variety of angles, so use those pics to help you figure out what goes where if you're not sure.

Roof: I suggest that you spray the tiled roof sections black or dark grey before you assemble them.

The upper floor also has some guide pieces to help it fit snugly on to the ground floor. They stop the upper floor sliding around too easily.

The tip here is to glue them in the corners (aligned to the edge of the base, inside the walls) then place the upper floor on top of the lower and give it a tiny wiggle. Then they'll fit neatly but with enough 'tolerance' to make it easy to lift on or off. The roof has similar pieces that glue on the inside of the gable ends.

Chimney: The instructions show how these pieces fit together to make the chimney stack - hopefully you can see it's very straightforward. You'll need to shave some of the components to make them fit the angle of the roof.

The kit includes a length of plastic pipe that you can cut to make a chimney pot but I've found that cyclindrical lego 'bricks' give a good result for much less effort. Also included is a length of plastic strip to act as ridge tiles for the roof. I've glued on the chimney and trimmed the plastic to fit either side.

To add further interest I've built a CFM log store. A tip here is to leave off the roof so that you can glue 'logs' in place. The logs themselves are simply bits of dried twig snapped to the right length.

With the roof; made by overlapping strips of card.

Fore even more variety I've added a CFM extension.

It's been built in exactly the same way as the main building.

The next stage is to apply the texture to give the walls a roungh, plastered or rendered appearance. I use cheap masonry paint - be sure to avoid the smooth types as you need a little grittiness to give the right texture. For extra texture you can mix in fine sand. Other gamers use something called Chinchilla Sand - basically a fine grained grit. (The lady in the local pet store gave me a very odd look when I asked for it, so I left. I'll stick to masonry paint!)

Warning! Make sure you keep all of the door and window apertures completely clear of any paint or texture otherwise it becomes a real bother to fit the doors and windows later!

Some close up pictures of the texture.

Tip - keep a cocktail stick or similar sharp item to hand whilst texturing as it comes in handy for removing any texture from the etching above the window frames.

You'll see that the dovetailed corners give the impression of stone blocks. You could enhance this by adding your own blocks made from small squares or rectangles of thin card (I may try this out on another building) but for now I'm happy with the standard finish.

The textured building ready for some paint!

Summary of tips
  • Use good quality glue as it will have minimal shrinkage, be stronger and dry clear.
  • Dry fit the components. My Father was a carpenter and always said "measure twice, cut once"... in this case dry fit twice, then glue once!
  • Check that you have all the bits (Colin is very good - you'll often have a few extras!)
  • Follow the assembly instructions - if they're supplied. Yes I know most of us are blokes but the instructions are supplied for a reason!
  • Use the website pictures as a reference if you're not sure of any part of the build.
  • Spray things like roof sections before building.
  • Use lego bricks as chimney pots.
  • Buy a small pot of magnolia textured paint - a good base as many buildings will be off white or grey.
  • Keep any textured paint away from the window/door apertures.
I hope that's been a useful 'how to' for MDF buildings. In the next installments I'll start to look at how to paint them, complete the assembly and add the finishing touches.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Overwatch Counters for Chain of Command

Just a quick one today ... Too Fat Lardies make some perfectly good counters but here at The Wargames Table I fancied making something to fit in with the figures.

They are simply 25mm x 50mm MDF cavalry bases to which I've glued some prints of "overwatch" (with 45° lines), then sanded, painted and scenic-ified the 'spare' bit of the counter just like any figure. Easy and cheap as chips!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Colours 2015

Saturday 12th September was show day for the Newbury & Reading Wargames Club, at Newbury Racecourse. The ground floor was the usual scrum of gamers and traders. I must say that upon entering the building I was surprised at the ... err ... rather rich aroma pervading the hall!!? Floor two was a mix of traders and games. The top floor was tournaments and demo/participation games.

The mix of traders was pretty good and I picked up a few items - some WW2 Paras and a few MDF buildings. A lot more on both of those in future posts hopefully :o)

Here's a few pictures of some of the games...

A Bolt Action table set up for a game themed around 'Allo 'Allo.

Sadly though there was no one 'manning' this table so I've no idea about how they were running things?

There was some sort of sci-fi tournament going on... A game called "Infinity" I think. Not my thing but this table looked quite impressive. Clearly a lot of effort went in to it.

A game using Radio Dish Dash's modern ruleset "Skirmish Sangin". Lots of good details.

I had hoped Too Fat Lardies would be there with a preview of their forthcoming Fighting Season game, but alas no.

The Society of Ancients played out a re-fight of Zama. This seemed to be at quite an intense point of the game, so I didn't interrupt!?

Crawley Wargames Club put on a very nice WW1 participation game where the players were in charge of stretcher bearers racing across no-man's land.

I've seen it at a couple of shows and every time the players seemed to be really enjoying themselves!

The Skirmish Wargames Society put on a good ECW game, The Battle of Newbury; very appropriate. The figures are 54mm and I must say that they do have a certain charm.

My nomination for "Best in Show" is this superb ACW demo game, Antietam I believe. Alas I cannot recall which group were presenting it.

The scenery was very good and the table also included plenty of good little vignette's for casualties, civilians, etc.

An AWI game here, nice figures etc but I do think that if you're putting on a demo then you really ought to keep the table tidy? (Just my ha'penny-worth).

Much fun was being had with this wonderful Lego or Duplo Circus Maximus game

The rules seemed simple, quick and clearly the players were really enjoying it.

The Society of Gentleman Gamers presented this super 20mm WW2 North Africa game.

The figures are beautifully painted; nice terrain too!

Abingdon Wargames Club presented this great little La Haye Saint 'skirmish' game. I'm not quite sure how the rules worked but Ian and Co were keeping the game running along at a good pace and the players were definitely having a lot of fun.

All round, an enjoyable show. I chatted to quite a few traders and they seemed to be pleased with the business they were doing. The best part though was catching up with friends and having a good laugh and natter. Great to see you all. :o)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Huzzah! for Her Majesty

Today, Her Majesty the Queen becomes the longest serving monarch in British history.

Congratulations Your Majesty! May you reign for many more years.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

How to prevent warping of MDF boards and bases

I expect we've all seen it ... a lovely terrain piece that is slightly spoiled by the base having warped after the texture, paint, grass, etc has been applied. I have a couple of such items in my collection. So I set about experimenting with ways to prevent it. This is what I've learned ...

The base for the field (from my previous post) ready to be pre-curved. Ideally I would not apply any texture first in case it fell off when the board is being curved, but in my enthusiasm to get it done, I forgot. Doh!? Approx size 26cm x 21cm, of 3mm MDF.

Prop it carefully, upside-down, between two books. The edges just need to reach the books. I've found that for rectangular boards you should pre-curve along the longest dimension.

Place a small, solid item in the middle of the board – it just helps to focus the force of the weight that goes on top.

Now stack PLENTY of heavy books on top. MDF will take quite a bit of weight! This must have been in excess of 5Kg's.

This board is 26cm wide and is bent by approx, 1cm.

Leave for at least 24 hours, preferrably 48 hours. Then remove the books and do whatever you’re planning to do with the board right away, e.g. sand, paint, etc. After removing the books and turning the board back the right way up it should still have a slightly raised arch. The 'pre-curving' should offset the warping effect of paint/glue. Occasionally the board stays slightly ‘arched’ but they seem to flatten after a while.

Make sure the finished items are stored flat otherwise they can be prone to warping even after some time.

It's not an exact science but it does seem to work quite well compared to other techniques such as scoring or painting the opposite side.

Hope that's useful.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Fields - How to make them

Here's a field that I made recently; so I thought I'd write a few notes to explain how I go about making such a piece.

The base is simply a piece of 3mm MDF board (from the back of an old wardrobe I think?). It's approx 26cm x 21cm. I've pre-stressed the board to prevent warping - more on that in another post. I've also applied a few 'splodges' of all purpose filler just to give the ground a slightly more uneven appearance.

The next steps are (apologies for the lack of photos) -
  • Apply a thin layer of watered PVA glue and sprinkle with coarse grit then sand. The more variety in texture the better.
  • When fully dry, spray or undercoat in any mid brown that fits your scenery collection.
  • Highlight with lighter browns and cream colours to complement your figures. I used a final highlight of white to give a slightly more dusty appearance.
  • Use PVA to glue flock/grass around the edges, plus add a few small clumps here and there over the field.
  • The hedges are just made from pieces of clump foliage (Woodland Scenics) in three different colours. Tip - start by gluing large clumps then go back and add smaller pieces. This blends the colours better and also makes the hedge stronger. It's basically the same process as for the hedges I've made.
  • The gap for the gate is wide enough for some gates I already have.
  • Finally, add a few tufts of grass and flowers.
Another view of Jerry making the most of the cover.

I made some others quite a while back, have a look here.

The hedges could be made more interesting by gluing in a few twigs to represent trees, may be a sign post or telegraph pole, etc?

Hope that's useful and/or interesting.